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Dry Eyes: Who Gets This Condition and How To Treat It

Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 10:11 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

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As the name suggests, Dry Eyes is a condition where an individual does not have enough tears in the eye to nourish and lubricate it. This condition leaves the eyes dry, uncomfortable and with improper vision. The clarity of vision is highly dependent on the health of the front part of the eye, and tears play a major role in maintaining that health.

Glands around the eyes secrete tears, which consist of oils, water, mucus, special proteins, and antibodies. When an individual blinks, the eyelids spread tears across the cornea and provide the lubrication, reduce the risk of infection, clean up, and clear up the eye. Small drain ducts in the corneas drain excess tears to the back section of the nose.

If the tear system is not working properly, poor quality tears or lack of enough tears usually results in dry eyes. Someone with dry eyes will usually experience the following symptoms:

  1. Sensitivity to light
  2. Pain the eyes
  3. Itching eyes
  4. Reddening eyes
  5. Deteriorating vision
  6. Feeling of sand in the eyes
  7. Excess production of tears

Excess tear production resulting in tears running down an individual’s face might sound contradictory to the condition, but it is a case of lack of tear lubrication. The nervous system can respond to dryness by flooding the eye with tears, a situation that does not meet the lubricating need of the eye. The excess watery tears only wash the eye, but do not contain the normal tear composition that the eye requires.

Who gets Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes can result from several factors, all of which affect the proper functioning of the tear film. The following are people who will most likely develop dry eyes:

  • People with eye correctional treatments

Lasik and other forms of eye surgeries can affect the proper functioning of the tear film. In addition, using contact lenses for many years can contribute to dry eyes.

  • People over 65 years

The natural aging process brings about conditions that affect the normal functioning of the body. Many people over 65 years will start developing dry eyes symptoms. Medical attention can help to relieve the dry eyes and its effects.

  • People in harsh environmental conditions

The environment has a role to play in contributing to dry eyes, and the worst conditions include smoke, dry climates, and winds. In addition, situations like staring at a computer that cause an individual not to blink for long periods can cause dry eyes.

  • Pregnant women

Women have a higher tendency to developing dry eyes compared to men. The factors that contribute to dry eyes in women include hormonal changes, which are a result of pregnancy, menopause, and use of some contraceptives.

  • People suffering from medical conditions

Medical conditions such as diabetes, inflamed eyelids, rheumatic arthritis, and thyroid complications will usually result in dry eyes. In addition, most eyes related conditions and turning of the eyelids would lead to dry eyes.

  • People under medication

Some medication interferes with the production of tears, and people taking such medicines will experience dry eyes for as long as they are on that medication. Medication such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, and blood pressure medication lead to dry eyes.

Dry Eyes treatment

Although there is no cure for dry eyes today, an individual suffering from the condition can go for any of these treatment courses with consultation from an eye specialist:

1. Nutritional treatment

Adopting an omega-3 rich diet or taking fish oil can help people suffering from dry eyes to recover from the condition. Nutritional treatment is proving to be an effective and long-term form of treatment for this and other diseases.

2. Use tear drops

An individual can find a range of teardrops in his or her local pharmacy, and these can relieve the dry eyes effect. Although the different tear drops work differently on different people, it is important to get professional assistance with regard to the ones that will work for your eyes. These artificial tears play the role of normal tears, and help to keep eyes lubricated for the day.

3. Prescription eye drops

People suffering from chronic dry eyes can get prescription eye drops that can increase the eye’s ability to produce more tears.  An example of these drugs is Restasis, which is FDA approved and offers relief from the effects of dry eyes.

4. Closing tear drains

The eyes have tear drains, which in some cases can drain the eyes sooner than the tears have played their part. An individual in such a situation can therefore have his or her tear drain plugged temporarily or permanently, and give the tears an opportunity to play their part.

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